JERRY GRETZINGER: THE RAT PACK
IN CONCERT AT FORT SALEM
SALEM, NY — Former CBS6 news anchor Jerry Gretzinger returns to the Fort Salem Theater Mainstage this Sunday, August 13, at 2 PM, for a summer musical event, Jerry Gretzinger In Concert: The Rat Pack in Vegas. The previously announced Farm-to-Table Dinner Cabaret at Gardenworks Farm on Saturday night has been sold out.
Gretzinger has been performing regularly at Fort Salem Theater since appearing in the first Singing Anchors cabaret in 2009, headlining on the Mainstage in Forever Plaid and Women in My Life, and performing two Frank Sinatra Tribute cabarets both at the Fort and around the region. After the success of the Sinatra shows, Jerry is now ready to attack the entire Rat Pack repertoire from their Las Vegas shows in the sixties.
The term “Rat Pack” derives from a remark made by Lauren Bacall when her husband Humphrey Bogart and a group of his friends stumbled into their Hollywood home at dawn after a long night in Las Vegas. Not amused, she is fabled to have said, “You look like a rat pack,” albeit a bit more colorfully than that.
The term stuck, and, according to the Bogarts’ son, Stephen, the original members of the Holmby Hills Rat Pack were: Frank Sinatra (pack master), Judy Garland (first vice-president), Bacall (den mother), agent and Garland husband Sid Luft (cage master), Bogart (rat in charge of public relations), theatrical and movie agent Swifty Lazar (recording secretary and treasurer), author Nathaniel Benchley (historian), David Niven, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, director George Cukor, Cary Grant, Rex Harrison, and composer Jimmy Van Heusen. Once Bogart passed away in 1957 and Sinatra withdrew his marriage proposal from Bacall in 1958, the other pack members went their separate ways and the pack master claimed the name as a marketing tool. The performing Rat Pack included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop.
As the years have passed, along with every performing rat pack member, some of the shimmer has faded from those legendary years. Sinatra made it clear to Lawford, for example, that his membership in the pack was dependent upon his keeping the channels of communication open between Peter and his brother-in-law, John F. Kennedy. Jacqueline Kennedy, never the dimwit, frowned at her presidential husband’s “visits” to Sinatra and his partying pals. Sinatra served as a conduit between organized crime and the executive branch of US government. Whereas Frank granted performance status to Sammy and Joey if they remained in his good graces, it was Martin who held the group captive. He did not socialize with the pack; his cordial relationship with Sinatra was purely professional. Martin eschewed the otherwise required post-show rabble-rousing which the other pack members seemed to enjoy. When Sinatra booked an extensive Rat Pack tour in the late eighties, Martin left after a few shows and was replaced by Liza Minnelli.
Jerry Gretzinger In Concert will concentrate on the song lists from Sinatra, Martin, and Davis’s Las Vegas Rat Pack shows, including “On an Evening in Roma,” “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime,” “I’ve Gotta Be Me,” “What Kind of Fool Am I?”, “I’ve Got the World on A String,” “What Now My Love,” and “Get Me to the Church on Time.” Jerry promises to bend time a bit and offer “New York, New York” as an encore, should audience reaction merit it.
All tickets are $25. Reservations are encouraged for the Fort Salem show because seating is limited and several groups have already booked their tickets. More information is available on the theater’s website (fortsalemtheater.com) or by calling the box office at (518) 854-9200.